Women Deacons Not On Agenda For Synod Talks: Vatican

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Tue 9 Jul 2024, 6:56 PM

Last updated: Tue 9 Jul 2024, 6:57 PM

Women must take a greater role in the Catholic Church, but any reform allowing them to be deacons will not occur in the short term, according to a new Vatican document.

The issue will not feature on the agenda of a second session of Pope Francis's Synod of Bishops in October, in which bishops, clergy and laypeople gather to collaborate on ideas and solutions to some of the most contentious issues affecting the 21st century Church.

The Synod, launched by Francis in 2021 as a way to bring the Church closer to the faithful, invited the world's 1.3 billion Catholics to share views on topics as diverse as divorcees, women deacons and priestly celibacy.

October's second session builds on ideas voiced last year at the first session of the key, multi-stage congress, which for the first time included women and laypeople to help chart the Church's future.

But in a document published on Tuesday of central themes to be covered during the October 2-27 talks, the Holy See said the issue of women as deacons would not be the subject of talks.

"While some local Churches call for women to be admitted to the diaconal ministry, others reiterate their opposition," read the document.

"On this issue, which will not be the subject of the work of the Second Session, it is good that theological reflection should continue, on an appropriate timescale and in the appropriate ways."

The pope has welcomed discussions of the role of women within the Catholic Church, which has been led for 2,000 years by men, outlaws abortion and female priests, and does not recognise divorce.

But the issue of allowing women to be deacons - who are able to celebrate baptisms, marriages and funerals but not masses - is highly contentious.

Conclusions from the first session last October found an "urgent" need to give women more decision-making roles within the Church, while calling for further research over the question of making them deacons.

Tuesday's document acknowledged that the Synod process "highlighted the need to give fuller recognition to the charisms, vocation and role of women".

It also recognised that the possibilities for women to participate in Church life "often remain untapped", and called for the development of opportunities within parishes.

The document mentioned a Latin American bishops' conference, which said that "in our culture the presence of machismo remains strong, while a more active participation of women in all ecclesial spheres is needed".

Under consideration at the second session are ways to include more women in decision-making, wider access to positions of responsibility within dioceses, seminaries and institutes, and more women judges in canonical processes.

"The reports received also continue to call for greater attention to be paid to the use of language that is more inclusive," read the document.

Hundreds of participants take part in the general assemblies, most of them bishops but also other clergy.

For the first time in the history of the Church last year, women were included in the group - nuns and laywomen who took part in the consultations and were allowed to vote.

Following the October assembly this year, a final document will be submitted to the pope who can decide whether to incorporate its findings into a papal document.


Khaleej Times

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